Lindsay, Rachel, Hope
With 2017 coming to an end, the ladies of Literally, Darling take a look back at some of our favorite albums we couldn’t stop hitting repeat on this year.
Rise Against, Wolves
Rise Against’s new album has been in constant rotation for me since its release in June. It’s solid all the way through, and I definitely think it’s their best record since 2011’s Endgame. Of course there was only one other studio album in between, but I was a little underwhelmed by The Black Market, and it’s been a long time to wait for new music from one of my favorite bands. Like any good Rise Against album, Wolves is jam-packed with loud, fast, angry—and often political—punk songs, like “Welcome to the Breakdown” and “Bullshit.” Much less angry, the closing track, “Miracle,” has managed to stay my favorite song of the year from the first listen.
I the Mighty, Where the Mind Wants to Go/Where You Let It Go
San Francisco Bay Area natives I the Mighty left behind their post-hardcore sound in favor of a more poppy and synth-laden one, and I’m a little surprised by how much I love the change in direction. The raw emotion seeping through Where the Mind Wants to Go/Where You Let It Go absolutely kills me. Six songs tell the story of a relationship falling apart, and it’s simultaneously relatable and heartbreaking. But when the album isn’t making you cry over your ex, it’s making you dance with upbeat tracks like “111 Winchester” and “Escapism.” My favorite is the almost folky “Degenerates,” a love letter to your best friends that accompanies the realization that you’ve found where you belong. This album kinda has everything and I’m obsessed.
Paramore, After Laughter
Although you can still occasionally find me jamming out to “Misery Business” just for old time’s sake, it’s been years since Paramore’s been really on my radar. When I heard they were coming out with a new album, I got really excited. From the moment I first heard “Hard Times,” I knew it was going to be blasting on my car stereo all summer long. I bought the CD several days after the 25th birthday, not knowing it was the quarter-life crisis soundtrack I’d been needing. I cried while listening to “26,” nodded along to “Caught in the Middle,” and belted the lyrics to “Rose-Colored Boy.” It’s one of those albums where every single song feels unique but also relatable. Their sound may be more electropop than it was a decade ago, but I dig it. And Hayley Williams is still serving up the same kind of power anthems I first fell in love with in high school.
Haim, Something to Tell You
I have no idea why it took me so long to find Haim. I remember them performing “The Wire” on SNL years ago, and I wondered even then why they weren’t more popular, but I never bothered to give their full album a listen. Well, that was all wasted time. The Haim sisters are proof that a girl band is a force to be reckoned with, and I can only hope they will inspire more girl power like this in the music industry. They’re sexy without trying. Their songs are upbeat and catchy without feeling sticky sweet. It’s the kind of solid pop/rock music I grew up listening to in the 90s and early 2000s, but somehow more sophisticated. Listening to “Want You Back” simultaneously makes me want to have a dance party and also go shopping for high-waisted jeans. It’s the kind of album you need to have on repeat on sunny days, but also the kind of album you’ll want on hand to cheer yourself up on days when life might suck.
The Wild Reeds, The World We Built
It’s been a long time since I fell so hard for an album that I bought the physical copy. I even asked for a copy on vinyl for Christmas. The World We Built is the second album of LA indie band The Wild Reeds. I’ve followed them for a bit — their first album, Blind and Brave, landed them an NPR Tiny Desk Concert and gave the world the brilliant lyrics of “love is a choice every morning/ not some fuzzy feeling in a room” — but this album captures takes the harmonization and songwriting skills of Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva, and Mackenzie Howe to another level. The World We Built is fem-rock at it’s utter perfection, and in a year where it at times felt awful to be a woman, this album celebrates femininity, romance, self-confidence, and music. My favorite track “Capable” should be the anthem of a generation of industrious young women struggling against a system, and “Only Songs” perfectly captures that feeling of relief and comfort that sometimes only a good album can bring. Billed as “indie-folk” due to the soft, at times whimsical nature of their first album, The World We Built feels like an edgy evolution into southern rock, filled with emotional crescendos and swelling guitar parts, and it’s the absolute perfect album to help you sing out 2017.
Photo credit: Annie Theby